Karnataka: Delhi HC Clubs ED Cases On Dy CM Shivakumar And Minister Zameer Ahmed

Karnataka minister Zameer Ahmed Khan has sought stay on the second Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation on him.

Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court has clubbed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) cases on Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar and minister Zameer Ahmed Khan.

Shivakumar and Khan are accused in multiple ED cases registered in Karnataka. The cases were clubbed on May 18 and would be heard on August 2.

Khan has challenged the registration of a second ED case against him, arguing that he cannot be prosecuted for the same alleged offence twice. He has also challenged the territorial jurisdiction of Delhi-based ED investigators to probe cases in Karnataka. 

Khan's lawyer Shariq Ahmed told Outlook that the Headquarters Investigation Unit (HIU) of ED has no territorial jurisdiction to investigate the case in Bengaluru as the alleged offence took place in Bengaluru. The case, says Ahmed, comes under the domain of the Bengaluru Zone. 

What's the case about?

While Shivakumar has been on the ED scanner since 2019, the cases against Khan are relatively recent. 

The case against Khan stems from an FIR registered in 2019 over a ponzi scheme. Then, the ED registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) —the ED-equivalent of FIR— in Bengaluru Zone in 2021 in which searches and seizures were carried out against Khan.

On the basis of a letter from ED, an FIR was registered by Lokayukta Police against Khan in 2022 under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. As the investigation was going on in this FIR registered in May 2022, Ahmed says they approached the Karnataka High Court for staying and quashing of the FIR.

On April 6, the stay request was rejected by Karnataka HC. On April 28, the Supreme Court stayed the proceedings which the Karnataka HC did not, says Ahmed.

Even as all this was going on, the ED registered a second ECIR on the basis of the 2022 FIR registered by the Lokayukta Police, says Ahmed. 

Ahmed says they learnt about the second ECIR in February when they got a summon from the ED in the case to appear in March.

"The allegations in the second ECIR are the same as the first ECIR filed in 2021. Now that the 2022 FIR has been stayed by the Supreme Court, we are seeking  a stay on the second ECIR as well, as the basis of ECIR is also stayed," says Ahmed, adding that they have also argued that Khan cannot be prosecuted for the same offence twice.

The case seeking stay will be next heard on July 4. The clubbed case of Shivakumar and Khan will be heard on August 2.

PMLA cannot be invokved: Khan

Khan has also argued that the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 cannot be invoked against him. 

Khan has argued that in disproportionate assets case, PMLA cannot be invoked since there is no further criminal activity of money laundering.

"The Petitioner further contends that inclusion of Section 13 of Prevention of Corruption Act as a Scheduled Offence vide Prevention of Money Laundering Amendment Act, 2009  is ultra vires the Constitution of India as the ingredients required to attract offence under Section 3 of PMLA are the same as prescribed under Section 13 of Prevention of Corruption Act," said Khan's legal defence in a statement to Outlook.

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